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Margaret Crandall

Issue 65

Santa Debbie ornament
I did it again Monday. Left my keys in the door. This time in broad daylight, and only for an hour, but still. Not good. My handyman neighbor says he might be able to install one of those frat house locks, the kind where you punch in a number. But because of my door’s special/bizarre construction, it’s an obscenely expensive proposition. (And I refuse to do that biometric shit until it’s required by law.)

The only viable solution, for now, is to wear my house key on a long cord around my neck. I’ll pick up a cheapo chain at the hardware store until I can find the McQueen-skull-studded version of my dreams. I was a latchkey child anyway.

But I never spaced out like this as a kid. The only key that made me crazy was the one to the closet in my dad’s study. That’s where my mom locked up all the Christmas presents. Every December I was determined to find that key. After school, before my parents got home from work, I’d spend hours searching every corner of the house.

One year I found it. I can’t remember where, maybe on top of some molding over a doorway. I *ran* to that closet, triumphant. I have no memories of what I found inside, but I do remember how unfun Christmas day was, once the element of surprise was gone.

The next few Decembers, I still looked for that key. Not because I wanted to see the presents ahead of time – I’d learned my lesson the hard way – but because it became a game I had to win. I needed to “beat” my mother. Once I'd found the key, I'd gloat about it to her face. It pissed her off so much, which made it all the more fun for me.

Is that fucked up? Yes. Would a shrink have a field day with this story? Probably. But none of that would have happened if my mom had just worn the key on a chain around her neck.
 

Sex and Santa


Last week I asked you about when you found out Santa wasn't a real person. Here's my favorite response:

"Santa got ruined for me when I was like 4 and I was dragging up the stairs just home from midnight mass with my grandmother, and saw my uncle in the living room arranging all the presents. And he looked at me like “oh shit!” My grandmother said, “she’s half asleep.” So I pretended I didn’t see anything for years because I was afraid if I said anything, then the presents would stop, too."

But wait, there's more!

"My daughter was the youngest in her grade because of school year cutoffs and the day before she started 5th grade (she was 9) I decided she needed to learn some things from me before kids at school ruined everything. So I had a drink then sat her down and in the same conversation told her about sex and Santa. We both refer to it now (she’s almost 19) as the day I ended her childhood."
 

Good stuff

  • Punk rock tree ornaments and where the image up top came from.
  • Holiday gift guide overload from Buzzfeed and Kottke.
  • And if you hate the holidays, here’s a genius advent calendar in email form – one heartthrob a day.
  • Indoor mood
  • Outdoor mood.
  • Science: Study suggests women like their best friends more than their husbands.
  • Also science: Stimulating one part of the brain can improve your mood.
  • Here’s how much you should tip.
  • Behold Delta’s new plane seating chart. I'm 100% sure United's is even worse.
  • The Specials have a brand-new song and we don't hate it!
  • Related: Ska waiter would like to tell you about the Specials.
  • A Guardian dissertation on defecation and the Squatty Potty.
  • And here’s why you should never, ever have a Roomba if you also have a puppy.
  • Moving on! How cute is this baby rhino?
  • The new punks of LA.
  • In Nothing to Hide, a French movie that has been overdubbed in English, people at a dinner party play a game where they all put their phones in the middle of the table, and any calls or texts or notifications must be shared with the group. High drama ensues. The fun (?) part is imagining playing this game with your friends.
  • Smart person Max Read explains the content cycle.
  • A brilliant way to store fabric.
  • And finally, a fun rabbithole and possibly the greatest Twitter thread ever: NYT writer Jenna Wortham asked for people’s ultimate only-in-New-York experiences, and the responses are incredible.
 

For next week


This is the place where I usually ask a question, in the hopes that you will share something insightful or entertaining, something other readers might appreciate. I do this for several reasons: 1) to make this thing less about me, 2) to humanize it, make it more personal for everyone, and 3) to learn about what resonates with you, so I don’t feel like I’m typing into some Dear Diary void. But I’m running out of questions over here. So if you have found this section at all helpful or fun or interesting, what kinds of questions would you like to see here? Should I stick to big topics like grief and death and major life changes? Go silly with topics like pet peeves and irrational fears? Mix it up? As always, you can reply directly to this email, and anything I share will be anonymous.
 

Pass it on


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Copyright © 2018 Margaret Crandall, All rights reserved.


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